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      Allergy Sufferers Should Get Ready Now

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      Allergyseason is here. The trees in Nebraska are starting topollinate and many are starting to feel the classic allergy symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy nose and itchy, watery eyes.

      Knownas seasonal allergic rhinitis, allergies are reactions of the body's immunesystem to a normally harmless substance. In the spring, summer and fall, tinypollen grains are released from trees, weeds and grasses. These grains hitchrides on currents of air.

      Universityof Nebraska Medical Center Allergist Jill Poole, M.D., saidabout 20 to 40 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.

      "This is the time when spring allergies catch upwith you," said Dr. Poole, an associate professor in the UNMC Department ofInternal Medicine. "The trees start pollenating and this is the exact time toget allergy medications out of the cabinet and start to use nose sprays andantihistamines. I advise patients to do this to try to fend off the allergysymptoms before they get behind the eight ball."

      Dr. Poole said if you have allergy symptoms andover-the-counter medications don't work well, she recommends getting tested.

      Here are tips on how to lessen the uncomfortableeffects of allergies:

      • Tree pollen is hardy and once it gets in thehome, it can be a longer lasting pollen. Closing windows will keep the pollenfrom being in your bedroom where you sleep.
      • After you've been outside, it's helpful tochange your clothes and wash your hands and face.
      • Try over-the-counter nasal-sinus irrigationproducts.
      • Over-the-counter antihistamines are non-sedatingand usually work in a couple of days.

      For more information about allergies, go to www.aaaai.org.

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